Sleep supplements aren't a cure for bad sleep habits
Popping a pill to sleep better is only a quick fix.
We all want to sleep well, but are sleep aids really worth it?
There's no doubt about it --sleep is important. It's necessary for children, students, workers -- but getting a good night sleep is especially crucial for anyone interested in athletic endeavors. When you're stuck in a rut of sleepless nights you may be tempted to turn to an over-the-counter sleep aid as a first defense. But does taking a sleep aid actually work? Are there any side effects, and should we be careful about what ingredients are in them.
Do I really need to use sleep supplements?
If you know that you're not getting adequate rest at night, you may turn to sleep aids as a first defense. Sleep supplements are found at nearly every drugstore, ranging from melatonin, Benadryl, and more.
While sleep supplements can be helpful in certain situations, leading sleep doctors note that they tend to be overused by most people and often times come with side effects. ).
Are you taking sleeping aids for the wrong reason? Many of us are. People who suffer from sleep apnea aren't the only example of this either -- if you can't sleep at night because you're drinking coffee too late in the day, taking long afternoon naps right before you nod off, it's far better to look at the underlying causes rather than soley relying on a sleep supplement. The caffeine-sleep aid cycle can be vicious and hard to escape.
So, if you feel like you're doing everything right in terms of sleep hygiene and still aren't getting a solid night sleep, then a sleep supplement might be worth a shot. Sleep aids are helpful in certain situations -- maybe you want to get a ton of sleep before a hard workout, are suffering from jet lag or are dealing with a temporary life stressor that makes it hard to fall asleep.
Just make sure to follow the product's recommendations -- a lot of sleep aids have instructions to only take them for a certain amount of time to prevent physical dependence. Also, always make sure that your sleep aid doesn't interfere with any other medications you're taking.
Do sleep supplements actually work?
In short, yes they can work..if used properly
Drugs like melatonin helps people fall asleep, synthetic sleep medications like diphenhydramine (an ingredient in Tylenol PM and Benadryl) have more effect on maintaining sleep than on sleep onset. Therefore, if you're sick with the cold and have no trouble passing out, but keep waking up with coughing fits, a medicine with diphenhydramine might do the trick.
Also its important to note that your reaction to different sleep aids is highly personal Research suggests their effect is partly psychological -- so if a particular one doesn't work for you it could be worth trying another. I tend to respond pretty well to sleep aids, and have successfully used everything from NyQuil to melatonin to Momentous during times when I have trouble sleeping.
A longer-term solution to fixing sleep issues, including insomnia, is mediation and mind calming practices. If you're consistently having trouble sleeping, it's much better to address the underlying problem with your healthcare provider than use sleep aids as a quick fix.
How can I get better rest without supplements?
Generally, you should always make sure that your sleep habits are on point before turning to a sleep aid.There are lots of things you can do to help this, including not taking long afternoon naps, cutting out caffeine intake later in the day, keeping a consistent wake-up time, exposing yourself to natural morning light after waking up and limiting time spent in bed besides sleeping.
Undiagnosed sleep disorders or medications can also affect your quality of rest, so if you can't figure out why you're not sleeping well, it's always worth it to check in with your doctor.
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